Lumineers® are one brand of ultra-thin porcelain veneers used to create a new smile. They have become very popular in recent years because they are thinner than other veneers and it is possible for them to be applied without any advance tooth preparation.
Most veneers require the dentist to shave a slight amount of tooth enamel (about the depth of a fingernail) before bonding the veneer to it. However, Dr. Szarek believes that placing Lumineers actually limits the ability of the cosmetic dentist to fully shape and customize the new smile design to achieve a fully functional and natural appearance.
Lumineers® are necessarily rounder than other veneers because they must be feathered at the edges on either side. The additional bulk, since the tooth is not shaved beforehand, sometimes causes issues with speaking or with the lips catching over the teeth. The appearance can also be bulkier than the patient really wants.
Training is very important
Lumineers® have been marketed to general dentists as a way for them to begin offering porcelain veneers without undergoing extensive additional training. The company that makes them offers a two-day training course. Completion of that course is all that is required before a dentist can be one of their designated dentists and place Lumineers.
By contrast, experienced cosmetic dentists undergo extensive training, including numerous different classes and seminars in esthetic smile design, methods of preparing teeth, and designing and shaping porcelain veneers. A true cosmetic dentist, like Dr. Szarek, should be able to discuss a number of options for porcelain veneers and design a smile that is individualized to each person.